The perfect pick-me-up, afternoon tea has been fortifying the nation for over 170 years, and is still very much alive. It was introduced in England in 1840, by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, after she found that she couldn’t wait for dinner – then served fashionably late at around 8pm. Here are five of the UK's finest locations for high tea, where this treasured pastime can be enjoyed in all its traditional splendour.
Pennyhill Park is really something quite special. Less than an hour from London in leafy Bagshot, it was formerly a stately home, and has served as a hotel since 1973. Tea is served in the upmarket Ascot Bar or on the terrace during the warmer months, where guests can enjoy views over the 120-acre grounds.
Photo: Pennyhill Park
Home to the renowned Crewe Tea, this magnificent Cheshire hall was once the seat of the Earl of Crewe and is owned by the Queen as part of the estate of the Duchy of Lancaster. Afternoon tea is served in the opulent Sheridan Lounge featuring a wonderfully ornate, carved oak screen. Book ahead, particularly during the popular summer months.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz is an institution. The luxurious grandeur that pervades this great British icon draws visitors from all over the world. Served in the magnificent Palm Court, a wonderful choice of teas and a mouth-watering menu make for a memorable event. Such popularity comes at a price, and you are advised to book at least 12 weeks in advance.
Photo: The Ritz
Afternoon tea with a difference? Try some mouth-watering Prêt-à-Portea delicacies with a fashionista twist, at Knightsbridge’s Berkeley Hotel. The designer afternoon tea is inspired by themes and colours from the world of fashion. A seasonal menu is served in the Caramel Room, offering a fine selection of loose leaf teas and herbal infusions.
John Wood's masterpiece of fine Georgian architecture provides the setting for this elegant hotel in the centre of Bath’s world-famous Royal Crescent. Sample the Georgian high-life by taking tea in the lush gardens or any one of the cosy lounges. Champagne is complimentary.